The natural Orinoco River rises in the Amazon jungle in southern Venezuela. The Orinoco Canal is 191 miles long with the section from “Mile 191” inland to “Mile 99” downstream called the Orinoco Interior, while the last 42-mile section is called the Orinoco Exterior (also called Boca Grande). The annual rainy season causes an annual sedimentation build up of some 30 million m³ and this has to be dredged out of the Canal. The sedimentation includes both silt from the delta and fine-to-medium coarse sand from the jungle.
Instituto Nacional de Canalizaciones (INC) needed Dredging International to carry out maintenance dredging along the Orinoco Canal for various different campaigns between 2002 – 2011. It was vital that traffic along the Canal continued to flow during the dredging work.
The Orinoco Canal project was basically composed of a number of annual maintenance dredging campaigns.
In view of the extensive reaches of the Canal, logistics is an arduous task, especially in the Orinoco Exterior, where the distance between the dredging vessel and the nearest harbour is 182 miles!
The Orinoco Interior required maintenance on several sections, the most distant of which was 100 miles downstream. Thorough logistic planning and provisioning were very important for the success of the project. Dredging International deployed the Trailing Suction Hopper Dredgers VLAANDEREN XVIII and UILENSPIEGEL.